Ngäi Te Ruahikihiki ki Taumutu are the primary kaitiaki (guardians) of the Te Waihora catchment. Their takiwä also extends to the wider Selwyn District, and south to the Hakatere/Ashburton River. Te Taumutu Rünanga is the administrative council of the hapü. In this role, the Rünanga has a responsibility to protect the natural resources, mahinga kai, and other values of the takiwä for the benefit of those people of Ngäi Tahu descent who have customary interests in the area.

The Resource Management Act (RMA) 1991 and the Ngäi Tahu Claims Settlement Act (NTCSA) 1998 establish statutory recognition of the relationship of tängata whenua to their whenua tupuna (ancestral lands) and wai tupuna (ancestral waters), and their role in national, regional and local natural resources planning and policy processes.

To address a range of issues relating to the capacity of Te Taumutu Rünanga to effectively manage the resources in their takiwä, Te Taumutu Rünanga, with the support of Te Rünanga o Ngäi Tahu, developed a Natural Resource Management Plan. The plan is designed to provide a framework for Te Taumutu Rünanga to effectively apply tängata whenua values and polices to natural resource management in the takiwä.

While the plan is first and foremost a planning document for Te Taumutu Rünanga, it is also designed to assist local, regional and central government authorities in understanding Rünanga policy and consultation requirements.